Archive for the ‘family’ Tag

The Soundtracks of Childhood by Angenita Williams

When one thinks of childhood, they think of school, school plays, kickball, teachers, bratty brothers, long summers outside, chores, barbecues, and an early bedtime. It’s a time where we all couldn’t wait to be adults because we had to follow so many rules that simply were not fair. (And many of us adults would like to go back to that time when things were much more simple.)

We also think of the music. What we didn’t understand was that the records that Momma and Daddy played on the stereo, or the tapes they played in the cassette player were setting a stage of memories for us to carry with us throughout our lives. And as we grew, as new artists burst into music, we added their sounds with the sounds already placed in our hearts. These tidbits of melodies etched themselves into our histories to the point where if we hear a song now, it takes us back to that moment where we fell in love with it. Don’t believe me?

Where were you when you first heard Thriller?

I was sitting in front of the stereo. My dad brought the record through the door and played the entire album. I held on to the cover. Michael was so beautiful in his white suit. I was enamored. It was 1982. I was 6.

Where were you when you first heard You Give Good Love?

I was at my house. My cousin, AJ, came down for the summer to watch my brothers and I while my mother worked. She played that song out, but it was BEAUTIFUL. I didn’t know whose voice that was at first. But then I saw the video. Whitney was so tiny, yet her voice was huge. It was 1985. I was 9.

Where were you when you first heard Purple Rain?

I was at home. Again. Dad brought this album in. I knew there was a movie for it. My friends had gone to see it. I hadn’t seen it yet though. I heard the song Purple Rain, and the guitar solo at the end caught my attention, and instantly became my favorite part of the song. It was 1984. I was 8.

These songs effect me that same way…over 30 years later. When I hear “Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you,” I’m taken back to Turrell, Arkansas, at my cousin’s house where it stayed on repeat, and it touched my heart. “Oh I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody” brings me to my first summer in Indianapolis. “Hey pretty baby with them high heels on” takes me back to my uncle who loved that song, and made a howl every time it came on.

And as I type this, I smile.

Of course there is an astronomical list of artists that moved me at different periods of my life which includes:

Patti – If Only You Knew. Chaka – I’m Every Woman. Aretha – Pink Cadillac. Frankie Beverly – Before I let Go. Kool and the Gang – Celebration. Mtume – Juicy Fruit. Madonna – Like A Virgin. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing. Diana Ross – Upside Down. Stevie Wonder – Ribbon in the Sky. B. B. King – Lucille. The Gap Band – Party Train. ConFunkShun – Love’s Train. Isley Jasper Isley – Caravan of Love. Janet Jackson – Control. Luther Vandross – Never Too Much. Teena Marie – Lovergirl. Rick James – Mary Jane.

And that’s not even touching the surface….

When we lose these people who contributed so much to our lives, it leaves a hole…a gaping hole…a crater in our souls. We feel hurt. Lost. And what’s really funny…I wonder if our icons really know how much they affect their fans with the words they sing. With the arrangements they make…

Prince guided me into and out of heartbreak. Whitney helped me understand heartbreak. And Michael, well, Michael gave me life after heartbreak.

Prince made me dance. Whitney made me wanna dance with somebody. Michael made me wanna dance like him.

Without these melodies, these beats, this rhythm…my childhood would be vastly different. What would trigger a great memory if it were not for our soundtracks?

Behind Whitney, Michael, Luther, Gerald, Marvin, Teena, Rick…we lost Prince too. And man…that hurts. It really hurts.

All of them played a huge part in my soundtrack….my childhood. But Prince? He gave me one of my favorite songs in the world….Adore. The lyrics mean so much more now…

“Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you. You own my heart and mind…”

I truly Adore you.

RIH Prince.

You were such an instrumental part of my childhood. Of my life. Rest Easy, Purple One.


Summer 2014 – Celebration Time by Delina Hill-Brooker

I haven’t blogged much lately, it’s not because I didn’t want to, or because I didn’t have anything to talk about, but because I’ve been too busy partying and celebrating.
Celebration #1 – Our oldest son DeVon graduated from high school. The majority of our family was here, we hosted 14 people inside our home. We had several mini parties from that Wednesday through Saturday before the main party on Sunday. We had a water balloon fight, a block party and a BBQ. (Good thing we are friends with all of our neighbors) 😀 For the main party we celebrated with two other graduates who are like my niece and nephew. We had people come to visit from all over. A lot of old friends stopped by, I taught my mother and mother –in-love all of the new dances and we tore the dance floor UP! I laughed and clowned and literally had no voice the next morning.


My mother stayed with us from graduation through the celebration #2, two weeks later which was my brother’s wedding. It was such a beautiful wedding! The bride was stunning. Her family is loving, and kind and very welcoming. We danced the whole night! The next morning we had a beautiful brunch at the bride’s parent’s house.


You would think that we would have enough, that’s not the case. After we left brunch we drove an hour to visit my father-in-law (#3) to celebrate his 80th birthday, and to spend the day with that side of our family.


We finally made it home to regroup, and rest. All of our body clocks were off. We had been up at all kinds of crazy hours. It felt weird to not have a house full of people to entertain. Oh yeah and our middle son was invited to a birthday party. (#4)
You would think that, that that would be enough partying, still not true. Yesterday we celebrated a friend’s birthday. (#5) This weekend we have friends renewing their vows. (#6) They have been blessed to be married for 20 years. After that is my husband’s birthday (#7). And not to mention another round of more family coming to visit until school begins. (#8)
We missed both of our family reunions, but this year 2014 has been a year to celebrate. There have been so many wonderful reasons to celebrate. I’ve loved spending time with my family. It makes me miss them even more because we’ve spent so much time together this summer. We only live once. Celebrate while you can. Express love while you can.

Nothing Better Than Family by Delina Hill-Brooker

This weekend I had the pleasure of having a house full of my family members. Our household which is usually five people turned into a house of fourteen. My mother along with my sister and her family (husband and six children) came down to visit. The kids had no idea of the trip, and I cleaned like a mad woman trying to prepare our house for that many people. I always super clean when we have company come in, but since it was my brother-in-law’s and nieces and nephews first time visiting, I wanted them to be as comfortable as possible. My husband jokingly stated that my sister and crew should come more often so I would deep clean more often.  🙂 *sarcastic hahaha*

We anxiously awaited their arrival at 2:30 am then when they got in we stayed up until 4:30 laughing and joking. The next morning my oldest niece made breakfast…it quickly disappeared. We made multiple runs to the grocery store. Friday night my husband bar-b-qued chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked sausages and his world famous grilled potatoes and baked beans.

Saturday we to Stone Mountain Park and enjoyed the laser show. Sunday we went to Six Flags. It felt like the sun moved from wherever it was and beamed right over Six Flags. From there we enjoyed ice cream from Bruster’s which is really a meal in itself. The kids made pallets on the floor and watched movies until the crack of dawn every night. We played tricks on the first one asleep, and the last one awake.

When they left Monday afternoon in was bitter sweet. As much as we enjoyed our family being together we knew that the time would come to an end. My baby girl kept asking where everyone had gone.

I love my blood family and my extended family. I enjoy all of the time we spend together. I cherish the moments that I get to spend with my family, because since I moved out of town eleven years ago, I don’t get to see them as often as I like. I would love for my family to move to Atlanta so we can have more of these moments. Until then…I’ll look forward to getting to hang out with the family again. Who knows maybe we’ll do a family vacation somewhere else.  🙂

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